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ICA: Flay vs. Hastings

Iron Chef Bobby FlayIron Chef Bobby Flay faces off against Challenger Chris Hastings, chef and owner at Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Judges are Anthony Anderson, Donatella Arpaia Stewart and Simon Majumdar.

It has taken 12 years but there is finally a chef from Alabama battling in Kitchen Stadium.  Why is this a big deal?  Alabama has one of the richest food traditions in the country – West Indies Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes, White BBQ Sauce, et al.  And what a chef they have chosen.

Christopher (along with wife Idie Hastings) is the chef and co-owner of the nationally celebrated Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama.  Located in a historic Chef Chris Hastings Hot and Hot Fish Clubbuilding on Birmingham’s Southside, the award-winning restaurant has earned a reputation for serving some of the finest, freshest dishes in the region.

Hastings graduated from the Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Providence, Rhode Island and then returned to the South in 1984 to work at the Atlanta Ritz Carlton.  After stints at Highlands Bar and Grill and Botega, Chef Chris moved to San Francisco, where he helped Bradley Ogden open the Lark Creek Inn.

In 1995, the Hastings returned to Birmingham to open the Hot and Hot Fish Club where Chris focused on the dinner menu and Idie used her pastry experience (earned in the kitchens of Jeremiah Towers’ Stars Café and Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio) to develop the dessert menu. Today, although the menus change daily to highlight the best possible products available, several signature items remain: the Hot and Hot Shrimp and Grits made with Country Ham, Fresh Thyme, Tomatoes and Ver Jus is always a favorite among the locals.

For more on Chef Christopher Hastings and the Hot and Hot Fish Club check out this great article from the Year of Alabama Food web site.

To see what happen when Hastings takes on Iron Chef Bobby Flay in Battle: Sausage tune into the Food Network this Sunday at 10/9 CT.  If you haven’t already be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Bobby Flay (HERE).

For the outcome check below.

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Flay                   Hastings
Taste: 29                Taste: 15
Plating: 12              Plating: 14
Originality: 11         Originality: 14
Total: 52                 Total: 53

ICA: Flay vs. Christensen

After nearly two months off it is good to see the king of TV cooking shows back.  Raleigh-based Chef Ashley Christensen jumps into the pressure cooker of Kitchen Stadium to battle Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Will she rise to the occasion or explode under the pressure?

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Galecke PhotographyAshley Christensen, the chef-owner of Raleigh’s Poole’s Diner is in town tonight and she brings with her the traditions of Carolina cooking.  She makes just the third chef from the Triangle area to battle on Iron Chef.  Chef Ashley is considered one of the top chefs in the Raleigh area.  Last September she was included in Bon Apatit’s article “Women Chefs: The Next Generation,” where she was thrown into good company along side Kelly Liken, Naomi Pomeroy and Allison Vines-Rushing.

The questions is whether Chef Ashley is ready for the heat of Kitchen Stadium where Iron Chef Bobby Flay awaits along with his sexy sous Rene Forsberg and Christine Sanchez.  Also waiting is the secret ingredient Chum Salmon and the judges Ben Sargent, Cady Huffman and Jeffrey Steingarten.

Check below for the outcome.

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Flay                   Christensen
Taste: 20                Taste: 14
Plating: 12              Plating: 11
Originality: 13       Originality: 10
Total: 45                Total: 35

ICA: Flay vs. Hughes

NewICAHeader ICA: Symon/Burrell vs. Cora/Irvine

A special Iron Chef America pits Food Network against the Cooking Channel as Chuck Hughes (Chuck’s Day Off) is the first star from the kid sister network to enter Kitchen Stadium.  Waiting for him will be Iron Chef Bobby Flay, a veteran of 46 battles.  Will experience win out?

Chef Chuck HughesChuck Hughes is a veteran of the Montreal food scene.  He’s been working in “The City of Saints” since he left culinary school culminating in Garde Manger – an Old Town Montreal restaurant he opened with two friends in 2006.

Then came Chuck’s Day Off (read my review HERE) one of those outsourced Food Canada shows that make up a large part of the Cooking Channel’s initial line-up.    Here’s what they have to say about their star, “Chuck was on the fast track to a career in advertising, but somewhere along the way, fell in love with the restaurant business. He enrolled in culinary school, started working in the city’s hottest kitchens and hasn’t looked back since.”

Judges for Battle: Canadian Lobster were John T. Edge, Karine Bakhoum and Stefan Gates.  Chef Flay was once again assisted by Sous Chef Renee Forsberg (who I believe oversees Flay’s Mesa Grill outpost in the Bahamas).  Chef Renee was sporting her signature Pocahontas ponytails.  Also adding heat to Flay’s kitchen was the adorable Christine Sanchez, Culinary Director of the Iron Chef’s company, Bold Food.

If you haven’t already be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Bobby Flay (HERE).

Click HERE for the outcome.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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